The Tasmanian Greens today proposed a solution to the current standoff over forestry, calling on Forestry Tasmania to utilise the state’s taxpayer-funded timber plantations instead of taxpayer-owned high conservation value forests.
Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that questions needed to be asked about why Forestry was refusing to supply Ta Ann from its massive, publicly-subsidised plantation estate.
“This would immediately put an end to claims that environmental activists are responsible for Ta Ann’s contract cancellations, as the company would be able to promote itself honestly in the market rather than deceiving its customers,” Mr Booth said.
“Plantations could provide Ta Ann with a guilt-free product that would boost its image internationally and help to restore lost buyer confidence, but Forestry Tasmania is standing in the way.”
“Ta Ann senior manager Greg Hickey recently admitted that the company’s products had been incorrectly described as ‘plantation wood’ in its Japanese advertising because of a supposed translation error.” *
“If Ta Ann wants a product that won’t get lost in translation, then it should look to the roughly 50,000 hectares of public hardwood plantations that are waiting to be processed.”
Mr Booth also called on Ta Ann to provide hard evidence that environmental activists were the cause of its alleged contract cancellations.
“Until now Ta Ann made no effort to provide proof that these alleged contract cancellations were actually caused by environmental activists and not routine market forces of supply and demand.”
“If the company fails to provide any proof for its claims, then it is open to the criticism that it used these unfortunate sackings for a media stunt designed to destroy the forest peace process.”
“This evidence could come in the form of letters from the companies detailing actual order cancellations, or simply the names of customers who can be contacted for corroboration.”
“When you look at Ta Ann’s annual financial figures they were losing money well before the IGA, which would suggest that this whole thing is a beat up by the Liberal Party and Upper House members in collaboration with Forestry Tasmania and FIAT to wreck the IGA and make a vile political wedge, none of which will help achieve a financially viable industry,” Mr Booth said
From ABC Radio, Tuesday, February 14, 2012:
GREG HICKEY: There isn’t as we understand a word for regrowth in the Japanese culture. And so what they’ve tended to do is call that plantation.
But the story from us has been consistently that it is regrowth and plantation.
FELICITY OGILVIE: But if you’re telling the Japanese buyers that it’s regrowth but that’s being translated as plantation, isn’t that misinformation?
GREG HICKEY: No it’s a misinterpretation of the term.
• Senator Bob Brown, Greens Leader: Minister ringbarks environment
The so-called Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, today turned on environmentalists in Tasmania and backed the logging of Tasmania’s native forests.
“He is lambasting Tasmanians who – following a trail of local and foreign loggers – have gone to Tokyo and London to background importers about the iconic forests like the Styx Valley where Mr Burke camped out last year.
“He is converting into an advocate for the chainsaws,” Senator Brown said.
“Mr Burke’s job should be to have the Prime Minister keep her signed commitment of 2011 to ‘immediately’ protect the contentious forests.”